This blog is a record of the call to worship, Scripture readings, and prayers from our Sunday liturgies. If you are interested in writing something for the liturgy, or if you have a concern about any aspect of our liturgy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call to Worship
we have gathered to worship the One whose mercy endures forever
the One whose love unfolds in our brokenness
to step into the story of God and the people of God
and find our own stories transformed
that we might take up the mind of Jesus
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens--
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.
If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street.
As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
This week's prayer was written and read by Emma Wood:
God, we have a problem.
Our culture is sick and, unknowingly, we have caught humanity’s disease.
In our separation from You who birthed us,
We have become vulnerable to fear, power, oppression and the seduction of knowing.
Remind us that you cannot be understood. Remind us that as we grasp to be formed into kingdom people that we will never get it right because of our humanness.
God, you know that we have good intentions. But it seems that our world has made you one dimensional. Our feeble attempts at knowing you have made you male, aged, power seeking, and exclusive.
We have begun to hate you in your fullness. Misogyny has run rampant in our governments, institutions, organizations, gatherings and households. We have denigrated your divine feminine attributes. We have admonished boys and men when they dared to feel. We have systematically created a world in which women have been assigned second class citizenship. We have pathologized the feminine imago dei.
We have labeled women as “emotional,” “sensitive” and “irrational,” we have blamed them for their own abuse, exploitation and oppression. We have denied that this sin is an issue, we have felt justified as we’ve pointed out all the ways in which women are treated fairly in this world. We have suggested that perhaps their lack of representation at the highest levels can be explained by their inherent inferiority. By biological differences. By innate skills and qualities that end up being fulfilled in devalued social positions. We have criticized your creation time and time again until it has become our truth. Lord, forgive us for our ignorance.
Let us not forget that
Lord, you are our Dayspring, the source of life, a mother nursing her child.
You are our Comfort, a mother hen drawing her chicks under wing.
You are Wisdom, the intuition of felt knowledge, that which cannot be rationalized.
Lord, You are Mercy. You became flesh and told a story in which Jesus overthrew power structures and spoke radical, inclusive, misfit love. A story in which time and time again Jesus turns the systems of the world on its head by elevating the role of women, intentionally affirming their value and dignity.
This is the story of the Lenten season in which we anticipate with bated breath the living Christ, the good news in which, through finding the tomb empty, women are the very first humans to witness your promise fulfilled. God, thank you for breaking the rules our world has constructed, thank you for revealing your inclusive truth through the Word and through the Gospel message.
God, we need help.
Help us to see you in your fullness, and to see your fullness in all people.
Help us to question gender roles and oppressive power structures.
Open our eyes to the ways in which we have internalized a God made in man’s image- and give us strength and humility to listen to and privilege the voices of women, the feminine and the oppressed amongst us.
In a world where the feminine circle has been placed below the masculine line we are reminded that you have revealed yourself as a circle, alpha and omega, beginning and end, as eternal.
I pray that UBC can become a people that hold man’s image of you loosely, that this image be laid down as we humbly embrace your mystery.